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  CSPAN    Capitol Hill Hearings    News/Business.  

    January 11, 2013
    1:00 - 6:00am EST  

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telling to your member of congress. >> two other things. on the department of education side think they will work on the mess, and hope we do a better job with the servicers reining in the problems. it is important that they have it is important that they have been hearing about this problem so much. that is one thing that does not require congressional action. another thing is the consumer financial protection bureau is sort of the new game in town as far as this goes. people do not think of them as a federal student loan side, they primarily have jurisdiction over private student loans. there will be quite active, talking about some of the predatory practices, but even on the federal student loan side the consumer financial protection bureau has jurisdiction over debt collectors and some of the servicers. it is not the biggest picture issues we have been talking
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about so much, but on the ground for people right now who have already borrowed, clients like mine having the existing programs that work well, it is incredibly important. hopefully a lot is going to happen in that area. >> the cfbp is the new sheriff in town. >> i will add that president obama said a lot on the campaign trail that he wanted to tie federal aid to college's ability to keep costs down. we have not seen specifics on that. it will be interesting. something to watch to see if he actually does that. >> we have seen some specifics from the prior version of that proposal. the students aid and fiscal responsibility act, which passed the house, but provisions were dropped from the bill. eventually became the health care and education reconciliation act. campus based funding -- the
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perkins loan, the grant, a federal work study -- tying it to a college's success in keeping tuition from growing too quickly. also their success enrolling pell grant recipients. the final proposal will be different, but president obama said he wanted to expand the perkins loan program. about exactly the same size as the private student loan market place. it is perhaps intended to wipe out private student loans. also to double the number of federal work study programs over a five-year period. a college possibility to get that increase aid would be tied to their ability to keep tuition increases under control. >> then there is always the possibility of more dream act. we talk about how bad these loans can be. some people have had no access to them.
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i feel that is a big potential. anything else? any panelists? we touched about some of this, and yet there is so much more. there are all sections of this we have not even gotten to or that we mentioned in passing at some point. i guess that is for a future conversation. thank you all so much for coming. thank you to propublica and the panelists for putting it together and giving us your night. so wonderful. really helped us get into this incredibly complicated issue. thank you. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] >> following up on the debt conversation in new york, on c-
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span this evening we will open up the phones and take a look at facebook and twitter and hear what you have to say about college costs and student debt. we will have a couple of guests joining us by skype and by phone. we will have marian wang from propublica and later josh mitchell on the policy side of things in washington. we will open up the phone lines and hear from you. here are the numbers to use. if you are a student or a graduate, the number is 202-585- 3885. if you are a parent, use 202- 585-3886. for educators and administrators, the number is 202-585-3887. please make sure you mute the tv when you call in. twitter hash tag, @cspan.
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our facebook poll has been up for a number of hours. you can go to facebook.com/cspan. is college worth going into debt? let's go to new york and hear from marian wang. she is the education reporter for propublica joining us via skype. >> thank you for having me. >> what got you interested in the area of student debt? >> there are record numbers for student debt. i began covering education. i got sucked into it. so much is happening in that space. there are hard economic times that is putting an extra crunch
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on students and families at a time and college costs keep rising. >> we showed audiences the conversation you participated in a couple of months ago. the scope of the issue and the size of the student debt that we are dealing with these days. >> the government issued more than a hundred billion dollars in student loans to families and grad students and parents. overall, the big number that you'll hear is this past year that student debt exceeded one trillion dollars. that is a big number. it also exceeded outstanding credit card debt. those are two big milestone to hear a lot. >> a student who has graduated from a four-year school with an undergrad degree, how much student loan debt do they carry
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typically? >> it ranges and the type of school that you go to. community colleges can be different from a private four- year school. the average student debt for undergraduates is about $24,000 in that neighborhood. >> $24,000 is the average student debt. we have calls waiting. we have marian wang from new york. we have a caller, chris. welcome. >> hi. how are you doing? >> doing just fine. >> i graduated from a private college in new york. i have an associates degree and have about $80,000 in student debt. we have about $1 trillion in student loans which are owed.
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in 2005, they got rid of the bankruptcy option. the biggest problem is that lack of a bankruptcy option. with the unemployment rate, they say it is 8-10%. there is no way this economy is turning around in the next few years. there seems to be no solution to this problem. the problem was federally backed student loans. the government forces children to go to k-12 grades. the colleges and universities are standing in a place they would not normally be standing. >> how long have you been out of college?
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how much student debt do you owe? >> i have been out of college for six years. i owe about $80,000. calling. ks for >> chris is right about the bankruptcy option. student loans are difficult to discharge through the bankruptcy process. it is unusual for consumer debt. there has been a push in congress to restore the bankruptcy provision. >> what would that do? >> you fall on hard times and you declare bankruptcy. for the most part, your debt is not dischargeable through bankruptcy. you can sort of shed credit card debt through bankruptcy, but you cannot shed student loan debt.
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restoring private student debt, that is not the majority of outstanding student debt. it is about 10% or 15%. >> we have a caller in sacramento, california. caller: hello. my problem is that i start going to school in 1985. i had some hardship. at the time in 1981 when i took out a loan, i owed $3000. now i owe $8,000. i have not been able to pay the loan back. recently i pay that loan for a whole year. i got it out of default and went back to school.
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one of my kids got sick, gravely ill. i had to step out of school and the loan went back into default. host: that is an example of someone who could not use the bankruptcy option you talked about. guest: it sounds like she has been trying to repay it and has been able to do it at some times. it does seem like you are a good candidate and in some cases there are better options for people who might need some help need to defer their loan or look into some of the federal repayment plans that might be more lower the monthly payment significantly. host: the conversation that you are part of the propublica discussion back in november showed president enrollment officer at new york university.
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enrollment advisor, i should say, in particular at nyu. take a listen. >> financial aid counselors and financial aid advisors.-- are sors.inancial aid adbisvi we know what the facts tell us. we have additional info there. it is our policy that we are not providing or doing any financial advising for families. we help them understand that this is a grant, this is a loan, you have to repay a loan. we help them understand their long-term obligation. but we are not qualified, nor should we be making decisions for families. we cannot tell them, you cannot come here because you cannot afford to be here. we do not know what additional
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resources they might have. you need to consider carefully what this will mean long-term. host: marian wang, the official from new york university -- what do you think the role of universities in guiding students for the future is? guest: traditionally, it has been what randy has said. we are not financial advisors. these tough times with the college investment being significant as it is financially, with the costs continuing to rise, there is a degree to which there are families, there is the government, and there are schools. neither the government or the schools feel comfortable stepping in and saying, this might be too much for you. you might want to rethink this
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decision. no one wants to say that to families. when you talk about families who may not be that financially savvy and are sending a child to college for the first time and are not acquainted with the system, there is a lot in terms of financial education that is lacking. who will be there to help these families educate themselves and make sure they understand the terms of these loans that will affect them for years to come? host: we are spending the next 40 or 50 minutes talking to you about student loans and college costs. the number to use if you are a student or if you graduated, please call 202-585-3885. for the parents, 202-585-3886. for educators and
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administrators, 202-585-3887. one in five households of student debt, the average college debt is $23,300. 93% of student loans are government issued. education department says they issued $157 billion in student aid in 2011. heidi in tennessee. caller: hi. how are you? host: fine thanks. caller: thank you for taking my call. i have almost completed my doctorate degree. i am a college professor. my student loan debt is three
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times my annual income. my husband and i cannot afford to pay our student loan payments based on the monthly payments because it is about $1,100 per month. can you talk about options for repayment? guest: the government ruled outa new more aggressive of the income-based repayment plan. it goes further in lowering monthly payments. if you qualify for it, it moves up the date for which your loans are forgiven. it can be 20 years instead of 25. some can go further than the income-based repayment. host: here is a tweet.
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"i only can read my bank statement with a piece of mind." next caller. caller: i'm a student. i was a student. i finished my doctorate. i had student loans that were about $57,000. four years later, i got it down to $41,000. this is the only student loan debt i had. i know what it is like to watch almost $600 or month going to debt funds. i'm calling as an educator because i heard the student loan situation is akin to the mortgage loan scandal two years
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ago. i very much disagree with that. i can speak from my own experience. people were making sure that it was sound and everything was in the right place. thinking about our families -- o we are not asked to write a paper. we are not asked if we can earn the grades to leave this college. people come in with a certain level of skills and we try to assess those skills. we try to help those students, those africans, to compete. host: we will let you go there
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and ask marian wang. guest: the two things do not quite mirror each other. there were periods when, like the mortgage market was much looser than it is today. students were steered at particular schools that had agreements with lenders. now they are facing the consequences. it is definitely a burden that they may have signed their name on the contract part, but they did not understand. that was happening. that mirrored some of the
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housing market. host: we want to show some comments from mark in november. he talked about the shifting of college costs and the burden from the government to families. here is what he had to say. >> over the last four decades, the burden of paying for college has shifted on the federal and state government to the families. the only form of financial aid that has any degree of elasticity is the parent plus loans. the stafford loans have a limit. the parent plus loans do not have a limit. and that has nothing to do with the family's ability to repay that debt. the students and the parents, they are chasing a dream. they will sign whatever piece of paper is in front of them without paying attention to the details. they figure they will do it
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after they graduate. there is much you can do to reduce the debt. you can attend an in-state college. some do not go to college. some have generous financial aid policies. once you are on campus, you can buy cheaper textbooks and sell them back to the bookstore. but that is not as much as you can you can save by going to a less expensive college. host: talking about college costs and student debt tonight on c-span, we have lines set aside for students, parents, and educators. marian wang is an education reporter from propublica. she was part of the panel there in new york. we go to a parent, cindy. caller: hello.
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my name is cindy. i have kids in a state school and a private school. this is of great concern to me. education has become a business. it is now a business where you are paying an institution to educate you and the success is performance-based. what happens when students do not get that education and what responsibility do the institutions have as far as educating people that are going to be employable? guest: i think that is a great question.
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that is one of the main responsibilities of education. they need to make sure that your skills will be transferable to the job market. i do believe that there is a conversation now. there is a conversation there is a conversation happening between the departments and the schools about whether schools need to be held more accountable for outcomes. we have to recognize that it is a difficult job market that is not the fault of schools, but students need to pay attention to what kind of educational value and student experience and retention and graduation rates. talk to alumni.
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see what their experience is and what is happening in the job market for them. host: marian wang, there is a tweet. "marian is wrong. the average indebted is no diff erent." guest: the cost of college is rising faster than the rate of inflation. there are two things that we can impart a little bit. there is a sticker price for tuition fees and costs. net price is when students and families and paying after scholarships and grants.
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for a long time, it was a sticker price that was increasing. right now, the sticker price is increasing and what the students and parents are paying. host: mitchell is on the line. caller: thank you for taking my call. all of the statistics i have heard shows that college is a good investment and the debt that students take out is good debt. the student loans i have gotten -- they are very easy. i just wanted to call. host: thank you. we will move to an educator from texas. hi. how are you?
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caller: hi. how are you? host: doing fine. go ahead with your comment for marian wang. caller: this is a statement. i feel like educators set the foundation for what happens in the world. the problem i have is with the economy and the way that we are paid. it does not go along with other things. when you have a student loan, for me, i started teaching in 2001. my first student loan was in 1998. i got another in 2002. because i took out a loan in 1998, i'm not eligible for any kind of relief for my loan. my salary is such that i need to go back to school in order to be
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more marketable. i have to go back to school. host: you are talking about going back to school for a master's degree? caller: exactly. you want to be marketable in order to increase your career. as a teacher, your income is not comparable to the way that other careers are done. the caller who spoke earlier said that his loans were easier and he had is given at the government. that is great. i want to help others. but economically, it is difficult for me to pay back student loans. host: how much is your debt now, if you do not mind telling me? caller: about $10,000 in debt right now.-- $25,000 in debt.
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host: what do you teach? caller: literacy. host: next caller. go ahead with your comment. caller: my daughter joined the military. she wanted to get additional money to move on to a four-year and get her grad degree. are there any programs from the federal government or the private arena that could assist her and reduce some of these monthly payments because she is military status? guest: she should definitely ask the department. they have tuition assistance. they have other programs that i
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am not dealing with. there are things that are available. host: did she get into the military so they would help out with some of these costs? caller: i'm sorry. what was the question? host: did she get into the military so they would help out with some of these costs? caller: absolutely. she decided to do that. she didn't want to go into further debt getting her grad degree. she spent four years serving her country. the private loans are killing her. she is trying to make ends meet. they're not budging on interest rates at all. host: thank you for sharing your story this evening. marian wang, in terms of postgraduate degrees, how much is that a part of the big $1 trillion pile of student debt?
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guest: it is definitely a large part. you hear the stories of people being six figures in that. more often that is grad school or additional education. it is extraordinary. when you hear about $200,000, you know that person must have gotten additional education. that can easily happen when you go to med school. host: robert is a student in florida. welcome to the conversation. caller: good evening. why does the government -- for
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the students who do want to pay back their loan, i think everyone wants to uphold obligation, but interest rates are at 6.8%. if people are allowed to refinance -- students have no ability to refinance student loans. the rates at the banks are at zero on deposits, but the students are paying close to 7%. if they reduced the rate and changed the daily interest rate, it would help people pay off the principal quicker. , but by $040,000 loan the time i pay it off, it will be --
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host: what is the typical loan rate? guest: he is right. it is about 6% or 9%. some are able to have lower interest rates if you have excellent credit. others, they can go up. he is right. there is a distinction. on student debt, which is not secured the way that a mortgage is secured, if you default, they can take back that house. the same is not the same as student debt. the risk is higher and interest rates are higher. there is a lot of talk of interest rates prompted being higher than they should be. host: a quick look at our facebook page. we're asking about the college student loan debt. how about the focus on who is picking the groups that can be
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forgiven? i signed up for debt of $100,000 about understanding what that meant. again, facebook.com/cspan. david. caller: i constantly see my students spending money on things other than educational costs. they do not use it for educational expenses. they use it for clothing, cars, the bar, gadgets. is there any way that colleges can offer mandatory training for freshman and how to use the money properly for what it is intended for? host: marian wang. guest: that is a good question. i hear that a lot from financial administrators.
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i do think that there could be better training in terms of more advising in the light of -- do you need this money that you are entitled to the federal government? there is a particular form and all by which they give you a particular sum to cover the costs of your attendance. students may not need that amount. they get a refund check, and they are excited about it. they do having this cash in their pockets that they can spend. there is a role that financial aid officers or schools can play in making sure that you do not have to accept all of the money that you are entitled to. you can decline a loan. you can ask for less than what you are entitled to. therefore, you can have less
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debt. host: where does work study fit into all of this? guest: work study is not part of it. if you are entitled to it, you get a couple thousand dollars. they do not necessarily have the cash on hand when the school begins. it will come later. it is a little bit more of a complicated picture. that is another thing students and families need to understand when they get that financial award letter in their hands or on their screen. it is challenging for schools. if you are at a large school, you do not have time to sit down with every student. these documents are complex. this is someone without a college education trying to understand it. host: here is a call from a graduate student in alabama. go ahead.
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caller: hi. i think that we should remember that we should be grateful that we live in a country where we are able to have loans that are provided by the government so that people who would normally not be able to get an education can do so. i'm a first-generation graduate. i would not have been able to get an education if it were not for loans. there was a student loan discussion. we have to remember that it is important for students when they are choosing a major, how much will this pay? educators have a responsibility to make sure that students are marketable when they leave. do not just give a biology degree without having the counselors talk to them about what they will do afterwards.
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parents need to be involved as well. make sure the children have proper exposure so when they go to college, they are choosing something that they are interested in and have good aptitude for. host: any final thoughts? guest: i absolutely agree with that. education department has a point when they say they are in the business of providing access for people. we do not want a country where people who do not have money cannot go to college. that is something to keep in perspective. will the burden of paying for college continued to be shifted? host: marian wang is an
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education reporter for propublica. guest: propublica.com is our website. host: thank you for spending time with us this evening. the conversation continues. our next guest has been writing about this issue. i want to take you to a senate debate from last summer when they were considering the change in the student loan interest rates. the senator of iowa and the floor of the senate from last summer. >> that is why the ever-growing mountain of student that is a major concern. also, a major concern for families all across america who are struggling to get by. it is a shocking fact that student loan debt has surpassed total credit card debt for the first time ever. $867 billion right now in student loans.$734 billion for
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auuto loans. the first time ever that student loan debt -- they owe more on that than on their car loans or credit cards. i want to bring this more closer to my own home. it affects iowans. the fourth highest percentage in the nation. those borrowers have an average of $30,000 of student debt. that is the third-highest in the nation. president obama wants to help our students succeed. from the recovery act and its support for the education system, to the student loan reforms that enable us to help
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more students to pell grants, and efforts to help students repay their loans. we have had major strides. i hope it is our shared goal of reclaiming america's standing by 2020 as the country with the highest per portion of college graduates. host: that is the senator of iowa on the senate floor as they debated raising the student loan interest rates. our next guest has been writing on the topic of student loans. josh mitchell, thank you for joining us this evening. guest: thank you for having me. host: tell me about the rise of student lending in 2000's. guest: it is important to go to college.
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more and more people are going to school. you also have for-profit schools. then you also had -- [phone call breaking up] host: josh, i will put you on hold. there is a bit of a break up on your phone. we will continue to take calls on student loans. i apologize. it seems that your call was breaking up a bit. angela is a parent in georgia.
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go ahead with your comment. caller: i was wondering, you know, my daughter has a private loan -- host: go ahead with your comment and turn down the television. i will move on to arizona. frankie is in arizona. he is a student. what is your situation? how much student loan debt do you have? caller: i go to a community college in arizona. i have not taken any student loans. i'm calling in response to the lady from texas. she says she has to go back-to-
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school because she is no longer marketable because of the student loans. this is one of the many unintended consequences. this idea that they can make education free for people, all it does is drive us in demand for degrees. what is happening is that everyone has a degree and it is not as easy. the problem is not education is too expensive. that is a consequence of the true problem, which is the federal government being involved in places that are not constitutional authorized. what happens when the government gets involved is that the prices go up and quality those down. host: i will keep you on the line for a second. i went to play you some comments that gave the exact opposite view held by bill gates.
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here is a short clip from bill gates. take a listen and see what your response is. >> this gives you a sense of the jobs question, the income question, and how that connects education. people say we need more jobs. in certain areas of college educated with software engineering degrees, there is a huge shortage of people. we are a country that would change the immigration policies that would allow over $100,000 year jobs to be filled by people who go to u.s. universities. even with that, you would still have a big shortage. you have 2.4% unemployment. that is about as low as you can
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go. with a masters degree -- break that down by majors. in many areas, it is low. we have the irony of having an economy where many people are wanting to get jobs, but there are many open jobs. it is up to the education system to equilibrate that. look at some college, high school, and high school dropout. there is a dramatic increase in unemployment levels and a dramatic reduction in the weekly wages. it is no exaggeration to say whether it is about income equity, racial equity. the key issue is making the education system work for everyone in the country.
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host: we will go back to our community college student, frankie, in arizona. bill gates talked about the government being more involved with funding for education. caller: i think with high school education years ago, the department of education was socially nonexistent. people probably did not have as many high school diplomas. what has happened now is that it is virtually almost impossible to not have a high school diploma or the equivalency. a high school diploma is virtually meaningless. case in point, now everyone
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needs to get a degree. everyone needs to get a degree now because a high school diploma is not important. everyone can get one. a degree used to important because it was hard to get. now it does not mean anything. host: do you think that getting a degree is important? caller: i think it is important to a point. i go to school because i can go to school for free. host: we want to get back to josh mitchell of the wall street journal. are you on the line with us? guest: yes. host: i think you have a better connection. bill gates talked about government's role in higher education. how does the administration view efforts to expand higher education going into the next term? guest: administration has said that they want everyone who wants to go to college to go to
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college. that means keep extending loans to people who apply for them. one thing they want to do is keep increases in pell grants. grants, you do not have to repay. those are for low income students. it is also a program for people who cannot afford to go to college. administration wants to keep that pell grant program in place. for the ryan a budget, they wanted to keep the budget in place. there are a number of other things they are looking at right now. not sure how much detail you want me to go into. host: how do republicans in congress view in general the
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student loan issue? guest: i think there are a lot of republicans in congress that would say that the government whether it is intentional or not has -- should there be more restrictions when a person takes out a loan, for example, should the government look at what the person will major in? what is the potential of that major? if a person will study to be a doctor and are likely to have a high income versus someone who might make far less -- should the government is more of a look at what these loans are going to use and what major that person will study.
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host: we have josh mitchell on the line from wall street journal. we are talking about student loan debt and college costs. if you are a student or graduate, the number is 202-585- 3885. for parents, 202-585-3886. for educators and administrators, 202-585-3887. john, an educator. go ahead with your comment. caller: the first question i have -- what is the current data coming out of college with a lot of debt? second, where are the
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implications for the largest group to go through the --the college eduation system in america. i guess i'm wondering what reform would look like to our gdp and for the students themselves or the whole system if there were changes. the millennial generation is paying high rates. host: josh mitchell, did you hear the call? guest: yes. the questions are great. one in four people whose repayments have started to come due are three months behind those payments. this is a big struggle for a lot of people. when you talk about the impact
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is on current people going to school, i think that is something that is being studied right now. there is a concern. at one point people were able to buy a home. if people are burdened with debt, does that mean that will take them longer to buy a home, get married, start a family? i do not think people know what the broader impact will be. host: there are were rules issued for home mortgages. recently they talk to the issue of student loan debt and the effect on the economy. here is what he had to say. ok. stand by. thank you.
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his signal sounds good now. thank you. 45 seconds here. i think we have plenty of calls there, michael. yup. thank you.
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josh mitchell, are they empowered to make rulings and regulations on student loans? guest: i do not think they are empowered too much. when we are talking about the student lending market, this is the education department we are mainly talking about. host: go ahead with their comments and questions. you are on the air. go ahead. guest: is anything being done about the schools for rocket that advertise and deceiving kinds of things do students in
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which there are no doubt markets? -- there are no doubt markets? one person was told that he would have a rate's -- great student and there was no jobs available. he is $100,000 in debt. talk to me about for-profit schools. host: josh mitchell. guest: the obama administration really wants to crack down on the for-profit school issue. one thing they have done is that they have tried to strengthen the rules that too many other students are defaulting defaulting on their loans within two or three years of graduating, they will take away any federal aid from that school. the other thing they have tried to do is call the gainful employment rule. they would look at whether students are getting jobs after
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they graduate from that school. if not enough of the students are getting jobs, then they will take away federal aid. that rule was sent back to the education department. the judge said there was a problem with the process by which they put that in place. that rule is on hold. administration is trying to address that. host: the topic is college costs and student loans. here is a tweet."defunding univ problem." is the our next caller is named michael and he is a student from texas. go ahead with your comments. caller: i want to make a comment
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on someone earlier who was talking about how a high school diploma does not mean anything and that now a college degree does not mean anything. education and technology are driving the economy now. it should be a good thing that you need a higher education. mr. mitchell, how is it -- i'm a senior -- is that for sure that you will get a job? what can we do about that? host: any guidance for our student? guest: what happens if you have debt and not a job? one thing that administration is trying to do is give you a time
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where you do not need to make payments if you are unemployed or going through hardship. they're trying to base your payments based on whatever job that you do have. if you have a low income and you cannot afford that normal payment, perhaps you can pay 10% of your discretionary income. the issue that we need to keep in mind -- one of the big reasons people are struggling with student debt now that the economy is rough. this is unusual for unemployment to be high for so long. it does not unusual for college tuition to increase. it is unusual for the economy to be this week this long. people are struggling. this is a big issue recently. host: there is a lot of talk of the b word -- the student loan "bubble." what are the implications down the road?
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guest: this is a $1 trillion market. whether this is a bubble like the housing bubble, it is not. most people repay their loans. in the grand scheme of things, this works out for people. that being said, the concern is not necessarily that this will create some big crisis where the economy will go through another crisis are recession because of student loans. i think the question is -- could it have an impact on the economy? it causes a lot of younger people to push back buying a house. it might be a subtle effect that we will not really see up close, but might have an effect in the long term. what does this mean for taxpayers? that will be an issue this year
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and next. you have people increasingly defaulting on their student loans. taxpayers are picking up the tabs. the student loan programs make a profit. that is not an issue. the default at this pace, down the road, it could be an issue. at this point, if things stay the same, there will be a lot of pressure to bail out these students in forgiveness. that is one question hanging out there. host: we go to mike. i think we lost him. ryan is a graduate student in pleasantville, new york. go ahead. caller: i'm a graduate. i did a one year masters program in london. i'm in debt. for one year.
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i want to touch on a few things. people of color, they tend to borrow more and are twice as likely to be unemployed at graduation. they work at coffee shops two hours a day and have no sort of future. we have no wages or future. we are forced to go into precarious positions. there is a group in new york that is educating people. it is called strike debt. there is a free site. there are more administrators being hired in universities. host: what was your one year degree in? guest: i have been unemployed for six months. i have been actively trying to pursue a job. host: we will let you go and hear from josh mitchell. guest: did he have a particular question? host: i think he was talking
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about coming out of $85,000 for his graduate program and not having -- guest: i think it will pay off for someone like him. we need to keep in mind that the economy is weak. when the labor market picks up on a lot of these people who are graduating from school that cannot find a job will eventually find a job. for people like him, the government is trying hard to work with the students. do not be shy in calling them. tell them that you do not have a job. they will try to work with you.
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host: checking out twitter -- student loan does not have to be. let's focus on money. one more call from camden town, missouri. go ahead. you're live this evening with josh mitchell. caller: a lot of the dialogue we are hearing today talking about reducing the costs of education, we're not not addressing the costs of education at all. it is about increasing government funding to help students go to school. we need to be focusing on what are the costs that can be reduced to bring these costs down, make schools more competitive, so students have a competitive choice of which university to go to.
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>> we will let you go, as we hear from josh mitchell. >> a lot of schools are starting to increase things at a faster pace. i think there is so much scrutiny these days. it is kind of like health care. why are costs rising? i think they're going to start to see a lot of pressure from congress to rein in their costs. >> josh mitchell writes for "the wall street journal." thanks for spending the last half hour with us. >> yes. >> and we appreciate all of your phone calls, comments on twitter, and the conversation continues online. the question we have been asking is, how much debt is worth going into college?
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[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> coming up next, president obama's announcement for jack lew to become the next treasury secretary. >> friday marked the 11th anniversary of the opening of the guantanamo bay. coming up, the american foundation hosts a discussion on the present's pledge to close the facility. live, here on c-span. >> if you ask how many self identify as libertarians, depending on which poll, you might get 10% or 15%.
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if you give people a battery of questions about different ideological things, and then you track those to different ideologies, then you get up to 30% of americans. if you ask the following question, are you economically conservative social liberal, you get over half of americans calling themselves. just because people say these things, it does not necessarily mean they really believe that. if you ask most americans if they want smaller government, they say yes. spend less money, yes. they do not want to cut anything though. it is not sure -- it is not clear there really believe in it. libertarians, if they were conscious and political, it could be a big movement. it could be a big group of
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people with a shared ideology. for various reasons, they are not organized. >> a political primer in libertarianism. the author on what you might not know. sunday night at 8:00 on c-span's "q&a." >> thursday, president obama announced jack lew as his pick for the treasury department. he praised secretary diner. -- tim geithner. this is 15 minutes. >> ladies and gentlemen, the president of the united states, accompanied by tim geithner and jack lew.
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>> a little more than four years ago i stood with mr. tim geithner, the first nominee to my cabinet. we were two months into the financial crisis. the stock market had cratered. bank after bank was on the verge of collapse. worst of all, more than 800,000 americans would lose their jobs in just that month. at the bottom was probably not yet in sight. i could not blame tim when he told me he was not the right guy for the job. [laughter] but on news that tim's extensive experience with economic policy made him eminently qualified and i knew he could hit the ground running. as chairman of the federal
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reserve, he had just spent chaotic weeks emerged in the crisis and had been working with the treasury to save the financial system. then when the wreckage -- with the wreckage of our economy still smoldering, i asked tim to help us put it back together. thanks in large part to his steady hand, our economy has been growing for the past three years. our businesses have created nearly 6 million new jobs. the money we spend to save the financial system has largely been paid back. we put in place rules to prevent that kind of financial
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collapse from ever happening again. the auto industry was saved. we made sure taxpayers are not on the hook if the biggest firms fail again. we took steps to halt underwater homeowners come up for air and sell goods overseas. we have begun to reduce our deficit through a mix of spending cuts and a tax system that when we came in was too
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skewed toward wealthy americans. when the history books are written, tim geithner is going to go down as one of our finest secretaries of the treasury. [applause]
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don't embarrass him. [laughter] on a personal note, tim has been a wonderful friend and a dependable adviser throughout these last four years. there is an unofficial saying over at the treasury "no peacocks, no jerks, no whiners." that would be a good saying for all of washington. no one embodies that better than tim geithner. i had to get on my knees two years ago to convince him to stay on a little bit longer, and i could not be more grateful to carol and the entire geithner family for allowing him to make the sacrifices that are cabinet members ask of their families in serving their country. the fact is, while a lot of work remains, especially to build new pathways for working folks to rise into the middle class, our position is better for tomorrow than most of the countries hit by the financial crisis. the tough decisions have been made and carried out. i understand that tim is ready for a break. obviously, we are sad to see him go. i cannot think of a better person to continue tim's work at the treasury than jack lew. this is bittersweet not only because tim is leaving, but because jack has been my chief of staff for the last year. he was my budget director before that. i trust his judgment. i know fewer people with greater integrity than the man to my left. i do not want him to go,
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because it is working out really well for me to have him here in the white house. jack has the distinction of having worked and succeeded in some of the toughest jobs in washington and the private sector. he helped negotiate the deal between president reagan and tip o'neill to save social security. for all the talk out there about deficit reduction, and making sure our books are balanced -- he is the guy who did it. 3 times. he helped oversee one of our nation's finest universities and one of our largest investment firms. in my administration, he has managed operations for the state department and the budget for the entire executive branch. for the past year, i have saw his advice on virtually every decision i have made from economic policy to foriegn policy. one of the reasons he has been
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so effective in this town is he is a low-key guy who prefers to surround himself with policy rather than television cameras. he has worked with members of both parties to forge principled compromise. maybe most importantly, the son of a polish immigrant, a man of deep and devout faith, jack knows for every dollar we budget, every decision we make, it has to be an expression of who we wish to be as a nation. our values. values that say everybody gets a fair shot at opportunity. and that we expect all of us to fulfill our individual
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aspirations. jack has my complete trust. i know i am not alone in that. in the words of one former senator, having him on your team is like having a player on your team and you know he will do well. i thank him for that. i want to personally thank both of these men and their families -- especially carrol and ruth -- for their extraordinary service to this country. and with that, i would like both of them to say a few words. >> mr. president, it has been a privilege to serve you.
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i am honored and grateful that you asked me to do this. really, i am. i am proud of what the treasury and your economic team have been able to accomplish these past four years. when you stepped into the role of president, you were confronted with the worst crisis in generations. you may be necessary, perilous choices that saved the american people, save american industry, save the global economy from the failing financial system. the response to the crisis did not solve all the nation's challenges. it could not have done so. but the actions you took, along with those of a forceful and creative federal reserve, have made the country stronger and
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have put us in a much better position to face the many challenges still ahead of us. and they are many. i have the greatest respect for jack lew. i know him as a man of exceptional judgment, calm under pressure, with an extraordinary record of experience over the decades. he is committed to defending the safety net for the elderly and the pour.
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he understands what it takes to create conditions for broader economic growth and opportunity. and he understands that to govern responsibly is to govern with the recognition that we have limited fiscal resources. like jack, i have spent my professional life in this world of public policy and public service. as all of you know, our family carried a large share of the burden that we share in public like. i am incredibly proud that my family have been willing to allow me to do this and i think them for their support and their patients, and i understand there are occasional impatience. [laughter] i want to express my admiration for the men and women of the treasury department. those who serve you during these years of crisis, and the civil servants of the treasury, with whom i started working in 1988. they are exceptional public servants. i am very proud of what you accomplished and i am very confident my successor will find them to be the extraordinary assets they are to the nation. i am also hopeful that americans
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will look to the challenges we face today and decide, as many in this room have, that despite the divisive state of our political system today that serving your country is compelling and rewarding work. that was my experience. and i am grateful and will always be grateful to you for having given me the opportunity is to have served you as the 75th secretary of the treasury. [applause] >> mr. president, it has been my honor to serve as your chief of staff, and before that the omb and the state department. it has been a privilege to come to work every day. tim, you have been a friend and colleague for many years. actually, decades. the american people are better off for your outstanding service. i thought i knew pretty well, but it was only yester day i discovered we both share a common challenge in penmanship. [laughter] i join the president and everyone here and in wishing you and your whole family well. since i was a kid growing up in queens, i had dreams of making a difference in the world. these dreams were nurtured in a home where nothing was ever taken for granted. a will always be grateful to my parents for grounding me in values that have remained central to my personal and professional life. i grew up professionally in the office of speaker o'neill, who demanded it unvarnished advice on how best to reach the destination. he did not care about rank, only about the hard work that
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informed the decisions of the day. i will always be grateful. serving at omb under president clinton and more recently with the administration, i worked with one of the finest teams in the government to execute fiscal policy while promoting economic growth. i am delighted to see so many of my friends from omb here today. estate department, i worked closely with the great secretary of state -- at the state department, i worked closely with the great secretary of state hillary clinton. as chief of staff, i have had the privilege of working with a tremendously talented white house team that manages policy, communications, and complex operations every day with zeal and loyalty.
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if approved, i will join the treasury department whose people are legendary for their skill and knowledge. finally, my thanks to ruth and the kids. thank you, mr. president, for your trust, confidence, and friendship. serving in your administration has allowed me to live out those values my parents instilled in me. [applause] >> these are two outstanding public servants. i think the only point i want to make, to leave you with -- i never noticed jack's signature. [laughter] when this was highlighted yesterday in the press, i
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consider rescinding my appointment. jack assured me, he is going to work to make at least one letter legible in order not to debase our currency, should he be confirmed as secretary of the treasury. thank you very much, everybody. [applause] >> vice-president held a meeting
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on gun violence. from the eisenhower executive office building, this is 15 minutes. >> let me thank you all for being here. you represent the bulk of sportsmen in this country, and you all know this is a complicated issue. there is no singular solution to how we deal with the kind of things that happen in new town or colorado or the general gun violence in america today.
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the president and i and the cabinet, we understand it is a complicated issue. that is why when the president asked me to do this in conjunction with my colleagues in cabinet, what we did was, we put together a pretty extensive list of what we consider to be the stakeholders wanting to deal with the issue of gun violence in america. the first groups mean that west where -- would not surprise you. national law enforcement organizations. also, we got a sense of -- to
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give you a sense of what we have done so far, we met with the american medical community, a group of about 15 leading medical doctors representing organizations across the country. we have met with at risk youth and children's advocacy groups from the alliance to promise america to the boys and girls club, etc. we believe this is cultural as much as it is weapons themselves. we met with domestic violence prevention communities. we met with justice organizations like the aba. we met with the national legal aid and defenders associations, prosecutors. we met with national service organizations.
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kawano as, rotary international. we have met with youth groups. we have met with gun safety advocates. yesterday that meeting took place here. also come up a dozen other organizations -- also, a dozen other organizations. and we met with educators and parents from the school boards to the state school offices and associations. again, the governors of those folks. and maybe one of the most important things we have been focusing on is the mental health community. the american academy for
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childhood and adolescence psychiatry, the national counselor community of behavioral health centers. there is a perspective among health providers that mental illness is a major component. and yesterday, we finished up on in this room with about 17 members of the faith community, which in all the years i have been doing this, the first time there has been overwhelming consensus on the evangelical groups nationwide. particularly those from the rural areas. the national catholic conference of bishops. the muslim community. because this does up a significant moral dimension to it. how do we make the american community safer? how do we go about it? and tonight, we meet with too.
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later, i need with industry representatives, as well as the nra, and the executive director of defense, the head by a 3 -- the small arms advisory council, etc.. the point i am trying to make to you is, we realize this requires all the stakeholders to give us the best ideas as to how we deal with what i said at the outset is a complicated problem. there is no single answer. to go back, i know a lot of you have been dealing with this issue since my times as chairman of the judicial committee of the way back and in the 1970's. if you look at the tragic events that have attracted some much attention, it is hard to pinpoint what you could have done to be sure it did not happen. but there are also things we know. we know there are certain actions we take back that have diminished the extent of gun violence that otherwise would be occurring in the united states. and so, the kinds of things -- there is an emerging set of recommendations. not coming from me, but coming from groups we have met with. and i am going to focus on the ones that relate primarily to gun and ownership and the type of weapons that can beyond. one is, there is a surprising -- so far -- surprising recurrence of suggestions that we have universal background
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checks. not just closed with the gun show people -- local, but total universal background checks. there has been a lot of discussion from the groups we have met with so far. i think the chairman has been in any meetings with me. -- has been in almost all the meetings with me. how do we share the information? how to get information -- for example convicted felons in the state -- how do they get in the nics? that is the thing that the gun dealer goes to to check your background, whether you are a felon.
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it does not do a lot of good if some states have a backlog of 60,000 felons they never registered. -- we've got to talk about there's a lot of talk about how we entice or what is the impediment keeping states from relaying this information. there's also a good deal of talk about gun safety. and what responsibility goes along with gun ownership. that is something i am really anxious to talk to all of you about. there's also -- surprising -- my former colleagues in the senate who have previously been opposed to any restrictions on gun ownership or what type of weapons can be purchased, as ever, there is i have never
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heard quite as much talk about limiting high-capacity magazines as i have heard spontaneously from every group we have met with so far. and the last area, which is an area that has come up, is the question of the ability of any federal agency to do research on the issue of gun violence. for example, we are meeting before the week is out with the video gaming industry. to use pat moynihan's expression, when we first started talking about this, back in the 1980's, he said we started by defining deviancy down. he said we had this fascination with violent thoughts back in the 1930's, and he stood on the senate floor and he held up the new york times.
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on page 54 -- in the very back of the paper -- and entire family including grandmother, mother, father, children were basically assassinated in their apartment. they think it may have been about a drug deal. he said "we can define it deviancy down." one of the things that prohibit -- the early part of this century, 2004, the centers for disease control gathering information about the kinds of
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injuries and what sort of energies and what are the source of the injuries? it kind of reminded me in a meeting yesterday. i was around in the 1970's. the only guy who can remember this -- i hope i am not insulting him -- is ray lahood. he remembers the auto industry. he remembers the whole question of traffic safety and highway safety. there was a big fight when i first got in the senate that began in the late 1960 fell through early 1970's. the automobile industry did not want to allow the department of transportation to acquire statistics on the type of
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accidents that occur. they were not able to literally acquire the information. because the concern was it would lead to calls for some rational regulations for the guardrails for automobiles. i remember when we finally broke through and the department of transportation started keeping misinformation, they found out -- if my memory is correct -- the vast majority of drivers -- the steering wheel damage to their solar plexus, penetrated their upper body cavity, damaged their heart. the reason the industry did not
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want us knowing that, we had to do something about the steering wheel. make sure that the steering wheel collapses. all of a sudden, they said -- you cannot make an automobile that does not have a steering wheel column with the following attributes. you have to make an automobile that can absorb excess amount of shock. all of a sudden we found out passengers were being killed going through the windshield. skull fractures, hitting their head on the cross bar. all of a sudden, it made sense. why not make airbags. -- why not make air bags? we are saving lives. as you know, the real restrictions now on the ability of any agency in government to gather information about what kind of weapons are used most to kill people. how many weapons are used in traffic accidents? our weapons used in gang warfare in our major cities? are they legally purchased or purchased through a straw man? we do not have that information. and the irony is, we are prohibited under laws and appropriations bills. i want to talk to you all a little bit, as an owner of shotguns, as a guy who is no great hunter -- mostly caskey shooting -- i do not quite --
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mostly skeet shooting -- i cannot quite know how we determine what is happening. there are a whole lot of things i want to talk to you about. i did want to talk to you about what we have done so far. we will meet again. this afternoon we had meetings. tomorrow afternoon we have meetings. i am trying to have a telephone conferences with the manufacturer's. there has got to be some common ground here. to not solve every problem, but to acknowledge the probability that we have seen these mass shootings occur and to diminish the probability that these
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shootings will occur as schools and to diminish the probability that these weapons will be used, firearms will be used dealing with the average behavior that occurs in our society. that is what this is all about. there is no conclusion i have reached with my colleagues. i have put together a series of recommendations. there is a very tight window to do this. i committed to him i would have these recommendations to him by tuesday. it does not mean it is the end of the discussion. but the public wants us to act. i will conclude by saying, in all my years involved with these issues, there is nothing that has pricked the conscience of the american people, nothing that has gone to the heart and mattered more than the visions that these people have of these little six-year-old kids riddled -- not shot -- riddled, riddled with bullet holes in their classroom. and the public demands we speak to it. and i am sure we cannot
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guarantee this will never happen again, but as the president said, if what we do and what we say only saves one life, that makes the difference. i do not believe we are imposing on the rights that the second amendment guarantees. now with your permission, let's get down to business. i think the press for being here. >> [indiscernible] >> we're going to talk about all these things.
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the f -- >> the afghanistan president, president karzai is in the u.s.. >> hollywood's most famous movies are helping the government sell more bonds. celebrities giving their time and talents. >> how popular culture present the work. -- the war. comic books in the 1940's. athletic events. how was it presented in music? >> this weekend, popular
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culture and world war ii. >> new margin rules were unveiled thursday. -- new mortgage rules were unveiled thursday. this is two hours. >> the consumer financial protection director unveiled new mortgage rules thursday. his remarks came during a public hearing in baltimore. the cfpb was created in 2010 under the dodd-frank regulations law. this is two hours. >> the financial protection bureau is an independent agency, whose mission is to help consumer finance markets work by making rules more effective by consistently and fairly and forcing those rules and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives. i am the acting associate director. welcome. today's field hearing is being live streamed, and you can
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follow us on facebook and twitter. we begin today's hearing with remarks from some well-known luminaries. and then you will hear from the director, richard cordray. this will be followed by a panel discussion that will be led by the deputy director. after the panel discussion, audience members will have an opportunity to share their stories and observations with the cfpb.
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so let's get started. senator cardin is a native of baltimore, a former state legislator, and a member of the house. in 2001, he was named by a magazine as being in the top 100 people with influence on the way americans think about money. he was a strong supporter of the legislation that created the cfpb, and we thank senator cardin for being with us today. [applause] >> thank you very much for being here, and, director cordray, we thank you for your service to the country. on behalf of my colleagues, we thank you. others and i have seen firsthand the pain was caused to people who have lost their homes. we have seen what it meant to their dignity. we have seen neighborhoods that
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have been very much negatively impacted because of mortgage foreclosures, and the tragedy of this, in many of these cases, it did not have to happen. individuals in our community were steered into subprime products that they should not have been. they qualified for conventional mortgages, and yet, they were steered into a financial arrangement that they did not understand, they did not realize the consequences, and as a result, many people lost
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their homes, and communities were devastated. today, we have too many abandoned properties, too many homes still in foreclosure, people who are homeless, and still others you are uncertain about their future. we thank you for having this hearing in baltimore, because we do believe that the people who will be presenting can give you some good information to help form the policies that we expect from the consumer financial protection world. i want to first complement governor o'malley, the secretary of housing, for the
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steps that are state took to help people. they set up counseling and ways in which the homeowner, the person who had borrowed money could have direct contact with the person who loaned the money, and in some cases, we were able to adjust mortgages and keep people in their homes. i am proud of the work the mayor did by helping people better understand their options, because the way these financial situations were set
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up, people could not talk to the right people, and it was in everyone's best interest to ovoid foreclosures, and yet, many were foreclosed. there were many foreclosure prevention forums. it was amazing. i have been to some, and i thought maybe 50 people would show up, but hundreds showed up. they had the financial ability, they thought, to save their house, but they did not know how to do it. this is a lesson i think we have learned over the last five years. we have to do a much better job.
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there are homes that we have saved as a result of it. there are some that would have lost their home. one woman was able for a counselor to find out who actually had the mortgage, and for a pro bono attorney, they sat down and were able to adjust the mortgage with the tools made available as a result of legislation passed by the united states congress, the strong leadership of the obama
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administration. we were able to use the tools and save this individual from losing her home. there are many other stories like that. we have got to personalize this. to me, the key to preserving homeownership in the country, the key to financial success, and i hope a major objective of the consumer financial protection bureau is to provide financial literacy.
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let people understand what is out there. let them understand their own capacity and the options that are out there. financial literacy is critically important, and that access to products and services that are fair, affordable, and understandable. if we can take those steps, we can help empower people to not only known at home or to make the right financial decisions but to help build our economy, so i just urge you to be bold. when congress passed dodd- frank, when congress passed the establishment of this bureau, we wanted you to be bold, because we do not want to see what we saw in the last five years again. we want you to be bold and preventing the abuse of financial products. get rid of them.
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empower families with financial knowledge, skills, and resources. we need resources to help guide them, particularly when the choices are complex or the terms are not clear or when the products themselves are misleading. and i think through proper
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regulation, best practices, and leadership, we can provide that financial information, and we can help people during those critical periods in their lives. i want to compliment you on the regulations you just recently issued. they are absolutely the right things to do, and i can tell you, you have friends in the united states congress who will support your bold actions. let us work together and avoid
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what has happened over the last years so we do not have to repeat that and americans can, indeed, have the american dream of homeownership with the right financial arrangements at the right time in their lives. again, thank you for being here in baltimore, and i can assure you that our delegation and our
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entire team are here to work with you to make sure we accomplish these goals together. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, senator cardin. our next speaker is congressman cummings, representing the seventh congressional district, which includes westminster hall. he is a ranking member on the oversight committee, where he
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has strongly defended the independence of the bureau. we thank him today. [applause] >> good morning, everyone. come on. we can do better than that. good morning, everyone. it is my honor and privilege to be year, and i am so glad that the consumer financial protection bureau has chosen the seventh congressional district, which i just so happen to represent, to hold this
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forum, and as i was sitting there, listening to ben cardin, i cannot help but think of a last time elizabeth warren appeared before my committee and how some folks tried to tear her apart because she simply wanted an organization which was meant to protect our constituents. she wanted to make it work, and
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i was telling director cordray earlier. it is amazing. the very people who tried to put her down in their actions elevated her, and now, she is a united states senator. you do not have to class. you should. she is in a very significant position. go ahead. clap. [applause] i want to thank yeah. i want to thank senator cardin and our mayor, who has done an outstanding job, and you, director cordray, for being here. the consumer financial protection bureau is dedicated to protecting consumers, including homebuyers from abusive financial practices. under the director cordray's leadership, the bureau conducted enforcement actions last year that returned about $425 million to consumers who were the victims of deceptive practices. this is about $80 million more than the entire bureau budget for 2012, so the american taxpayer is already getting a significant bang for their buck. here in baltimore, we have been hit hard by the crisis, where nearly 4 million americans have already lost their homes. during this crisis, and of organized some seven for closure prevention workshops, and we are about to have another one on june 15, and in these workshops, as ben said a few minutes ago, we have learned about the abuses committed by mortgage services. in addition, in my position as ranking member of the oversight reform committee, i have conducted investigations and introduced legislation to expand protections for homeowners, including those serving in the military.
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given the enormity of the challenges we currently face, we are looking to you, director cordray, and to the bureau to lead the way forward. america is counting on you to ensure that credit is provided and the terms are clear, fair, and affordable. today's hearing will primarily address the new world of the bureau with qualified mortgages, and i am pleased that the bureau sought input from stakeholders on earlier drafts. we are also awaiting a new rule on mortgage servicing standards. we will about with all of the new rules based on whether the protect consumers from the kinds of abuses they have faced in the past, as well as whether they prevent those seeking financial gain from exploiting consumers through on intended loopholes, and as i said to you a little bit earlier, director cordray, there are a group of people who are not usually mentioned in these discussions, and that is the children, the children to become displaced because their parents cannot afford the home, or they have been put out of a house, and heaven knows what effect that has on generations yet unborn. does it say to that child, "i will never be able to buy a house?" does it say to the child, "i should not buy a house because i will probably fail"? these are some of the discussions we had. so i know, director cordray, that you will remain diligent in monitoring these new rules, and,
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homeowners, and we urge you to take action, and i reiterate what ben cardin said. i have got your back. i will do whatever it takes to back up this organization. it is so very, very important. we want to make sure that people have an opportunity to live the very best life that they can, and so, with that, welcome to our city, and we look forward to hearing from you. [applause] >> thank you, congressman cummings. our next speaker is stephanie rawlings blake. she serves on the board of trustees for the u.s. conference of mayors and was the youngest person ever elected to the baltimore city council. we would like to think the mayor for graciously hosting us in her city. [applause] >> good morning. i am hosting you in my city and in my law school. you forgot to mention that. i want to thank the director for holding this hearing here today, and i want to welcome you to the city. i want to thank the senator and congressman for being here. baltimore and maryland is blessed to have the delegation that is working so hard on our behalf, and today is just a small example of the work that they do together. we are always grateful when congressional committees and federal agencies visit baltimore, and to that end, director cordray, you are welcome your anytime you want to come. we believe that the hearings and visits are an important part of the decision making process. policy-making is too often in the confines of washington, d.c., but a forum such as this allows policymakers to see and hear what is happening on the ground and how it affects real people. that can only lead to better policies. what is happening in baltimore is happening in much of america. we have higher than average unemployment and underemployment
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rate, and that affects people's credit scores and thus their eligibility for mortgages. foreclosures also affect people's credit scores, and there are foreclosure rates in the real-estate market collapse, and even though interest rates are at market lows right now, there have been significant increases in loan fees, and mortgagors are requiring higher credit ratings. this is not even to mention the government regulation with respect to qualify for these, which is defined too rigidly when you make a mortgage more difficult. these obstacles have diminished the pool of minority, low- income, and first-time housing buyers that are entering the market, which in turn has the effect on existing homebuyer's, who are looking to move up, to move into a bigger home. they are looking to improve their homes, and they are being prevented from financing or from obtaining home equity loans. additionally, here in baltimore, we've been suffering from high foreclosure rates, and this is continuing. foreclosure rates in the greater baltimore area rose and even increase from the year before. the foreclosure pipeline, this is also on the rise in the greater baltimore area, increasing. these are alarming trends and should cause all of us concern. all combined, this creates a very difficult challenge for baltimore city as the work to create new opportunities for our families and our neighborhoods. we have set an ambitious goal to help 10,000 families, and in order to do so, we must improve our school system, reduce crime, create economic opportunity for our residents, but a vital part of this effort has been making home ownership a priority. in fact, on monday, we announced a new public-private partnership with wells fargo for $15,000 grants for assistance. these forgivable grants to new homeowners will help families
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move into the home that they want. what is more, the new program supports our ongoing efforts, like our blight elimination program, and providing people with the opportunity to combine a variety of incentive programs, and by doing so, being able to bring tens of the ovens of dollars to the settlement table. still, without access to mortgages and our efforts, this will come to naught, and by extension, it will make our nation's economy that much more difficult. that is why today's discussion is so important. we need to find ways to increase opportunities for families here and throughout the country. thank you again for the opportunity to speak to you today and for being in baltimore. we hope you have a fruitful discussion in my hometown, and you are always welcome back. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, mayor blake, speedy recovery to someone who was to have joined us today but unfortunately sprained her ankle.
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host: where are you from? caller: nigeria. host: do you have to work permits? caller: i have worked here and i have travelled and i have come back. i have lived here 16 years. i have been traveling and coming back at the end of the day they have said i am illegal because i cannot go back to the country. host: the question is, a fear of assaouting oneself.
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guest: the immigration laws are more complicated than the tax code. it seems like mike has done everything according to the law and gone through the process. at the end of the day, it comes down to an official working for immigration to make a determination. is the process transparent? does mike have access to the resources he needs to be able to navigate it? that's not the way that our country should value people who contribute to our economy. to the extentght, that our system is too complicated. we need more simplification and streamlining so it is clear who is allowed in and what the rules are.
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i would take issue with the contention of someone who comes here on a visa and looked sharper consular officer in the eye and promised that they would go home and then they stay. that is lying. you don't need a law degree to know you have lied to the american government and then broken our immigration laws. when you stay and your passport says you should of left the country by a certain date. host: on facebook, some comments --
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we heard earlier in the program that's ice, the enforcement arm, is looking at a different priority in terms of who they target. they are specifically looking at people of committed crimes or a series of misdemeanors or a felony. guest: we are nation of laws, no doubt about that. it is how we were created as a country and how we continue to function better than any other country. but our laws must be just and must serve the needs of our population. our immigration system has not been updated for decades. it is antiquated and is behind. what immigration and customs enforcement is doing is taking
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valuable law-enforcement resources and going after the folks who don't belong here, the felons, violent criminals, drug dealers, etc. spend on an antiquated system or have congress get itself together and create a system that makes taxpayers out of everybody and puts the country on a path forward. host: u.s. immigration and customs enforcement is one of those primary and immigration enforcement agencies. the other is u.s. customs and border protection. what do you think about the priority of looking for those who have broken the law in terms of felons or misdemeanors? guest: each of us prioritizes our resources every day, regardless of whether it is the enforcement or anything else. ice will have priority is about to they go after, but law- enforcement has to always be a combination of going after the top priority violators while
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also having a certain level of randomness so that even people who are not violent criminals realize there's a chance of getting arrested. what ice has been told by the to do now is toounc say if you are a regular taxpayer, not a money launderer or adult dealer, and you don't pay taxes, we're not going to come after you, because you are not a high priority for us. people would find that a surge if the irs said that. but somehow it's a good thing in this case. you can send us your tweets. in texas, harold is a democrat. welcome. caller: hello.
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i love c-span. two points. the main issue is in my mind that immigration of human beings has been turned into a prohibited and criminalize activity when proper management and identification of people that are moving around in our nation and doing business in our nation is much more important. president bush, just before 9/11, said his number one priority in the united states was going to be opening up the western hemisphere to the tremendous economic growth that was going to be possible by really developing this side of the planets. -- planet. that is true. because of our fear and the vested interest of law enforcement and other groups that make huge amounts of money
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from criminalizing people for doing the things that are natural human activities have destroyed the economic opportunities for the world that would make the 1990's look like nothing. i would love to hear people's comments on that. guest: the premise of the caller appears to be that we the people of the united states don't have the right to exercise our sovereignty. that's what it amounts to. the fact is, the whole point sovereignty is that people, through their elected representatives, decided who comes and it does not come. there are 6 billion people in the world. it would not be unrealistic to expect 5% of them would move
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here if they could. that's 300 million people. if you are ready to admit 300 million people to the u.s. if we have no numerical caps, take that to the public fancy what they think about it. it is an unrealistic point of view. in the modern world, with transportation and communication technology, what we should be doing is using trade as a substitute for migration. trade goods and not treating people. something we can do now in a way that 100 years ago was more difficult. guest:, i think harold's point is interesting. whether it's moving from texas to misery or nebraska to idaho or mexico to the u.s., people will move. if our nation's immigration system no longer has a process through which people can move to the united states, as a result we are suffering. solution andrk's use immigration and trade as our policy, but what would happen is we will continue to see jobs
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move to other countries. people come to america for opportunity and freedom. with that comes opportunity and freedom for everybody also is already here. if we put up a big wall on the border, whether it's a land border or sea border and say you cannot come, but we will communicate with you and give you jobs, at the end of the day that hurts us as a nation. host: mark has been at the center of the immigration studies since 1995 and is the author of the book "the new case for immigration." on twitter -- our next caller is brian in
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north carolina, independent. >caller: hi. there are so many issues that could be addressed, but i will keep it short. i am married to a woman who is an illegal immigrant. we got married, i knew she was an illegal. she was brought here as a young child. many times when we speak of illegal immigrants, people speak of them as if they are animals or they're not human beings. when it comes to enforcement of laws and the making of laws, we have to understand these are people and they have feelings, they are real people with families. we are married and are expecting our first child. i have a wife now who cannot function in our country because of something her parents did to her by bringing her as a young child. at this point she is being punished for it. so i appreciate mr. obama, although i did not vote for him. she has been to college and is
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great to be a nurse, but she cannot be a nurse in a hospital because she cannot have a background check. i would like the fellows on the table to address that issue. we do have laws in place, but i do see some light of the end of the tunnel where mr. obama has created this deferred action. host: pleasure wife qualify for the deportation program? is she in the age limit? caller: yes. we will apply for that in the next several months. we have hired a lawyer. she also has several brothers here that do not apply for that and they misted by several months. her family pays taxes. they are law-abiding folks other than the fact that these folks were brought here as children. host: does she have the advantages to gaining citizenship or legal residency because she married you? caller: she does not.
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guest: the caller raises this issue of the "dream act," which is legislation that would legalize illegal immigrants who came here as children and have remained here. that is the one area -- the one group of the immigrant -- illegal immigrant population that does warrant amnesty. expensive.ctt is too but it's perfectly appropriate for us to amnesty illegal immigrants who came here as infants or toddlers and have basically been american. any measure like that has to take into account two things. it is an amnesty, but all amnesty attracts new illegal immigration and it creates new downstream illegal immigration
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reward relatives. any dream-type of legislation would have to have enforcement provisions so you don't have more young people being brought in by their parents like this caller is wife was when she was a kid. and, also, limits on legal immigration sponsorship, so this woman -- her parents would not able to benefit from what they did to her child by bringing her here. host: so it would not be a domino effect. for one family member coming and then more people following from the family. the 2009 version of the dream act of 2009. you have to have been here at least five years.
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this did not pass. it's not plot. instead we saw the obama administration move forward on the deferred. guest: deferred action for childhood arrivals. host:daca. guest: it said if you came here before the age of 16 and are still under the age of 30, you are able to apply for the deferred action. it is a temporary status that allows bryant's wife to apply for work authorization so that she can be winners and take care of our sick and others and really contribute to our economy. what it does not allow them to do is get on a road to citizenship. it sets up a clear wall between a temporary status. and they wrote to status what he talks about is the fact that whether it is his wife for
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her brother's, being contributing members of our society who want to be a part of america. they believe they are part of america and aspire to be citizens. why is congress standing in the way? and why is congress more ready to spend $18 billion a year to make sure to remove people like bryan's wife or her brothers, rather than putting them on the road to legal status and citizenship to benefit from their contributions? host: would your group like to see this lead to more expansive policy in terms of not just targeting that age range, but having it so that his brothers in law might qualify for his mother-in-law? guest: we need to put the aspiring citizens are undocumented, put them on the road to legal status and citizenship. it creates a functioning immigration process so we avoid the problem where people coming
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in the future have a process to go through. that does not exist right now. third, we need a rational enforcement's system so we're not spending $18 billion a year or $180 billion over 25 years, but we have a system that keeps us safe and allows law enforcement to do their job and keep the public secure. host: a tweet-- caller: i have been writing about this for years. i wrote about this years ago. it's like a character in a play who is amazed that he discovered that he's been speaking in prose his whole life. well, this is not news. the dream act, that is too expensive. what i'm suggesting is a "dream
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act" 2.0 that addresses the ones who came as infants and toddlers. guest: that falls short of fixing the problem. to not have a functioning immigration process to serve america going forward only recreate the problem we have right now. you cannot eat half of the warm. after create a process that serves the needs of the economy and our families and create something for people to go through instead of going around. host: does it to have stopped? caller: it does not. -- does it do half the job? caller: it does not. until we have in place a fully formed immigration enforcement infrastructure, and we are part of the way there, but if you had a car with no windshield and two
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wheels, you would not say it's ready to drive. our immigration enforcement system is like that car with no windshield. the one group that i think has a good case to make -- essentially, an act of mercy on the part of the american people, are the young people who not only came as kids but came so young that they are psychologically, americans. guest: it is a system that has spent $180 billion over 25 years and is spending more money on immigration enforcement than any other criminal enforcement program in the federal grant. we cannot afford, financially or socially, to continue to spend $18 billion a year on immigration enforcement without fixing it. guest: it is a humvee with no windshield and only two wheels. host: akron ohio on the line.
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caller: i want to know, where do you need to get your funding for your organizations? host: and what is your next question? caller: our country has typically benefited from immigration throughout history, the europeans came first, then the irish, germans, poles, vietnamese. usually after some conflict or some revolution overseas or some kind of problem overseas, or famine. since 1886, the statue of liberty was brought over here from the french. we still have that spirit of bringing people to this country. my concern, obviously, is the
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poor indians. i recall a humorous picture of some apache's saying they had homeland security, they would've been a lot better off. there are a lot of problems with immigration. i'm just trying to find out what your thoughts are. host: we will start with ali. guest: we're supported by a range of foundations and individuals on the liberal side of the ledger as well as conservative. if you would like to donate, harold, you can go to our website. a range of individuals also support our work, so thank you. we as a nation have a history of guarding immigrants, valuing immigration, because it serves our interests moving forward. the problem we have right now is that we need and emigre
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immigration process that sobs that for the future. we also get support from conservatives and liberals. we are think-tank. the caller is welcome to donate at our website. the one point i would like to make is i want to make sure we don't repeat these mistakes of not having real homeland security. host: a tweet -- guest: the only people that are winning are the unscrupulous employers, the ones taking advantage of immigrant workers or the american workers that are working alongside them. if we had a functioning system that created an opportunity for the undocumented to get legal status and had a functioning immigration process moving forward, then that unscrupulous employer would not able to
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exploit any one and every worker in would be will to compete for the same job and the same wages. status quo means there's no floor that everybody can compete from. guest: we do have an illegal employer problem in the sense that there are bad apples. broadly speaking, that's not the problem, because most illegal immigrants work on the books. most illegal immigrants are not really paid that much less than legal workers in similar jobs, similar education. the employment-related problem that illegal immigration creates is not so much the illegality, is that we are flooding the low skilled workforce with competition for our own young people, our own low-skilled workers. that is the effect it has. immigration enforcement can atdeal with the problem, but it is not so much that there are many employers rubbing their
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hands together. legitimates employers don't even employerswho the illegal immigrants -- legitimate employers don't even know who the illegal workers are. we need screening. this is why we need social security and the irs tells employers when they are hiring illegal workers, because social security and irs know ho millions of illegal immigrants are and where they work. yet a perverse interpretation of the privacy laws is the rationale for not telling anybody about it. host: scott is a democratic caller. you are up next. caller: my main issue is when i find a new job, for loudoun application, i have to show social security card, driver's license, and prove i am an american citizen. why are these employers not required to follow the rules? if they are caught, maybe they
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should have to pay the cost of the immigration enforcement, themselves. guest: almost all employers actually go through the motions that scott described. when you get a new job, you show a document that demonstrates to you are and another that shows you have the right to work. usually it's a driver's license and a social security card. the problem is most employers are not crooks. it is just that they have no idea whether this is a legitimate or phony document. and if they look too closely, the justice department has an entire office devoted to selling them if they are too zealous in making sure the people they are hiring are legal immigrants. businesses are between a rock and hard place. they need e-verify for all companies. host: what is their incentive to make sure their workers are here legally? guest: if you don't have enforcements, they may not be
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interested in it one way or the other. the immigration service, under this administration, has stopped all employer raids. they do audits now of your paperwork sometimes can tell you what these people are illegal, so you have to fire them. and they do back and the people go across the street and get a job that their competitorss. with mandatory use of e-verify -- when you do your paperwork when you hire somebody, all paperwork you are doing anyway, you just make sure the person you are hiring is not lying to you. something like 60% of illegal immigrants who work have lied to their employers about two they are. host: hyattsville, maryland. kenny is a democratic caller and is an illegal immigrant. at er: when you looke
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immigrants in this country, when the irish came and the italians and the french and germans and the europeans, all these people were faced with different [indiscernible], but the good thing is [indiscernible]. i believed in this century everybody who is against immigration also will fail. see.need to, and see come host: sounds like he is saying for people to see the perspective of what it's like to
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be an immigrant. caller: i'm from nigeria and i've been here 10 years. host: have you been able to find work? caller: yes, i am working. if people say they cannot get employed, but they need to go to mcdonald's or in the area of health care. $7.50 an hour. host: it's a little difficult to hear you. so let's get a response. he is sharing his experience and talking about some jobs where you work hard but don't get a lot of pay. guest: part of the reason for that is we're adding this additional huge number of people to go low-skilled labor market. a lot of those employers don't use the e-verify system. even the ones that are legitimate. if you are a mcdonald's franchisee and there's a burger king across the street, if your competitor is not using e-
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verify and you are, you are putting yourself at a competitive disadvantage if it just i try to comply with a lot. this is why it has to apply to everybody. let me make a point about this i should know more about immigrants, i did not speak english until i went to kindergarten. i was in high school before i realized there were zero people who spoke without an accent. -- that there were old people who spoke without an accent. the idea that somehow supporting tighter controls and lower levels of immigration must be the result of a complete unfamiliarity with immigration is baloney. host: where were you born, in the u.s.? caller: yes, i was born here. my family came from the western part of armenia, the ones who were able to make it out alive.
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host: now to our next caller on our independent line, kevin. following have been fall the discussion. i listened to people say that immigrants should go back to their country or illegal immigrants should go back to their country. i want your guests to distinguish between the immigrants that came here from europe anin the 1950's and the ones coming here now. who is an american? people who came here, 85% of
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them, came here as an immigrant and were born here, or their ancestors. those wholking about wjh came here as immigrants should go back to their countries. it sounds funny to me. if we look at the history of the united states, the original people here were the native americans. everybody else came here from somewhere. host: are you an immigrant to the u.s.? caller: yes, but a legal immigrant. i'm from liberia. host: our caller is talking about why is it different for someone who immigrated in the 60's versus today? and what does it mean to be an
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american? guest: we as a country have had a long and sometimes good and sometimes difficult relationship with immigrants. we have gone from the days of the irish need not apply and the chinese exclusion act to the immigration and naturalization act of 1955. even the previous caller spoke on this. we reached a bubbling moment within the country and then saner heads prevailed and we were actually able to fix our immigration system. what it means to be american is if you believe in family, you believe in hard work and opportunity and freedom. that's why my parents came to parents and mark's all across. host: where is your family from? guest: >> pakistan. host: you're born in the u.s.? guest: >> yes.
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at the end of the day, being american is defining who we are as a people and as a society. it's up to congress to get its act together. host: a tweet -- guest: that was a requirement that the bush administration had issued. when employers got a letter from social security saying you given us disinformation about somebody on your payroll and the name and number don't match or the numbers phone or something, so look into export. and we are letting you know. the rule would have said they had to pursue a certain number of steps, a person's a withdrawn, maybe your paperwork is wrong, if those various things don't resolve it, they have to let the guy go. what happened was that the unholy alliance of the aclu, the
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u.s. chamber of commerce, and afl-cio sued to stop that will because they knew that it would identify illegal immigrants in the workforce and they succeeded in stopping it. this administration pulled the rule out altogether. guest: what mark is asking for is for small business owners to act as immigration enforcement agents. that's bad for business and the economy and its jobs. if we had affronted immigration system so employers would not have to worry about immigration status, then we would be book to create jobs and move forward. host: thank you so much to both of you. we appreciate both of you being here today. >> today, a briefing on but future of the u.s. air force. live at 11:00 a.m. eastern on c- span2. [video clip] >> if you ask how many people
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would describe themselves as libertarian, you might be getting between 10% and 15%. if you ask -- give people a battery of questions about different ideological things, do you believe in this or that, and then you track those ideologies, depending on which poll you are looking at, you get maybe of up to 30% of americans calling themselves libertarians. if you ask, are you economically conservative but socially liberal, you get over half of americans saying they are. just because people say these things, it does not necessarily mean they believe that. if you ask most americans do you want smaller government, they say yes. do you want government to spend less money, they said yes. if you ask them to cut a particular item on the budget, they don't like to cut anything. so it's not clear if they really believe in it. i would have to say roughly as
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lowest and% and as high as 30%. libertarians, if they were conscious and political, they could be a big movement. it could be a big group of people who have a shared ideology who would have a lot of influence in politics. for various reasons, they're not organized that way. >> author jason brennan on what you might not know, sunday night at 8:00 on c-span. >> inspector general ervin scene reconstruction efforts in afghanistan said the u.s. risks losing billions of dollars without proper oversight in various projects. this came at the same time afghan president hamid karzai met with top obama administration officials to discuss the future of the american presence in the country. this is 50 minutes. [applause]
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>> thank you very much. and thank you very much for everyone showing up this afternoon. there were very generous comments and i am honored to be here today at the stimson center, an institution named for and inspired by a man who helped to guide the nation through some of the most difficult challenges that we have ever faced. and an organization that i remember calling upon for guidance and assistance on medications, particularly when i was working for sam allen, who i had the pleasure to work with for about 17 years. i remember at the old offices, north of dupont circle, many a day talking to gary and mike and a team of experts proliferation issues, loose nukes, chemical
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and biological warfare issues. so it's a great institution and it's an honor to come back here. this is only the second time i've been to your new office and it's fantastic. little did i know, two months ago approximately, when we got together and talked about this, how good stimson was. today i realize how good they are. two months ago when we picked this date, little did i know that it would be the week afghanistan, that a certain president from a certain country would be in town. i remember conversations saying it's just going to be an informal gathering, just a few of us will get together, and here i see c-span and a lot of faces a people i know both in and out of the government and so on.
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you were good and your background, but i did not know how good you were until today. all kidding aside, it's a pleasure to be here and talking about what really is a very important subject, no matter what day of the week or once a week of the year it is. henry stimson, sam still has a long and illustrious career in public service, henry stimson did and he approached it in the same way that sam did. that is a bear practical and non-partisan manner. -- a very practical. if secretary stimson were alive today, he would be using his trademark propitious approach to the issue of afghanistan. he would be studying and analyzing the challenges we now face in afghanistan. he probably, if he were asked to
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take on the role as speaker, would not have taken it. in all seriousness, the position i was offered back in june as the special inspector general for afghan reconstruction was both a challenge and opportunity of a lifetime and is one topic i'm excited to talk about and i am excited to be here this afternoon to talk about our history. the conflict in afghanistan is quite arguably our for most foreign policy issue and challenge facing us today. the united states has spent more money to rebuild afghanistan than it has spent on the reconstruction of any other single nation, including germany following world war ii. we spend about $28 million every day to rebuild and reconstruct afghanistan.
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nearly 90 plus billion we have already appropriated for afghanistan relief and reconstruction is designed to build and strengthen the afghan national security forces, promote self-government, and foster economic development. it is my job and the job of my nearly 200 auditors, investigators, inspectors, and other professional staff to make certain this money is spent wisely, effectively, efficiently, and protected from waste, fraud, and abuse. to help you understand the challenges we face and that my sister inspector general's face in their roles, as well as what our country faces in afghanistan, let me start by telling you a little story, a story about one of our inspections. in the far north of afghanistan, bordering dejecta stan, is: does province.is kunus
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it has seen an increase in insurgent activity. it is also the site of a major nato supply route. maintaining security and safety of that province is critical to our national security interests. in 2008, accordingly, the department of defense obligated over $70 million to construct an afghan national army's garrison there that would house 1800 national afghan army troops and their advisers. this is a multi-building garrison. it was supposed to be completed in june of 2009. in april 2010, it still was not completed. to make matters worse, the construction had been completed -- that had been completed had major problems. roofs were sagging or collapsing because the contractor had used improper welding and climbing techniques.
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worse yet, the site was constructed on unstable soil. because the contractor had not adequately prepared the site and stabilize the soil and constructed proper foundation, the buildings were collapsing. they were literally sinking into the ground, causing structural failure and making them unusable. in 2010 we inspected the site. we found problems and told the defense department to fix it. they promised to do so. however, last year we returned and we found a site in deplorable condition. although some structures had been fixed, the underlying of the collapsible soil had not. as a result, buildings had failed, buildings had sunk, holes had developed, and more facilities faced the likelihood of structural failure.
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we saw a gaping holes in buildings because of the structural failures, so large that you could stick your arm through the side walls of the buildings. the sinkholes were so bad that the transformers and electrical systems used to supply power to the facilities were about to collapse. moreover, even those facilities that did not have deficiencies were not being used for the intended purpose or were not used at all. i would like to report that the contractors responsible for this problem were held accountable, but that is not the case. instead, we seem to be finding time and time again, for some inexplicable reason, they still lead not been able to provide test vacation for, the defense department released the
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contractor from all further obligations under the contract, including all warranties to fix all the problems and they paid the contractor in full. i tell you this story not because i think the reconstruction efforts in afghanistan will rise or fall, succeed or fail on what happens with one army garrison based in one small province in afghanistan. the reason i'm telling you this story is because it is indicative of problems that we face and we find time and time again when we do audits and inspections in afghanistan. and the problems that we have found at kundus are indicative of larger problems and indicative of core causes of the problems we have found in afghanistan. that is what i want to talk to you about today. excuse me.
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these problems, these core issues can really be boiled down to five separate but interrelated issues. first, inadequate planning. second, poor quality assurance. third, poor security. fourth, questionable sustainability. lastly, corruption. let's talk about inadequate planning. we are at risk now of wasting billions of dollars if the agencies charged with implementing new programs and constructing new facility is to not first answer some basic questions. i have been in washington 30 something years. i almost fell off the stage. [laughter] i came from ohio. maybe i keep this midwestern approach to issues, sort of
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basic simple questions that you would ask if you were buying a house, buying a car, or trying to lecture your daughter on what school to attend. sort of simple questions, logical questions. these questions are not being asked first -- are not being answered, i should say, in afghanistan. questions such as, are these programs and buildings needed? have you asked the afghans if they want them? have you coordinated it with any of the other organizations working for either of the u.s. government or the international community? have we designed them to meet any specific need that the afghans have? and have redesigned them in such a way that they can be sustainable in the future?
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quite often we find the answers to these questions are -- no. for example, when we asked the government officials why they had built the garrison in kundus and how they determine its size, location, and the way it was built, we got a blank stares. there was no planning or justification documents that could provide these answers. in fact, as we reported in 2011 and another audit, the department of defense did not have a long-range construction plan for its entire $11.4 billion construction program. just so you think we are picking on dod, aid is no better. as far as we can tell, they have a hard time grasping what they constructed and even where they are located. i ask you to go in our website in the next month or so and you
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will see an interesting audit. if the findings are what i believe they will be, we are missing a number of buildings we thought we had built in afghanistan. [laughter] i don't know where they went, but maybe they were never built. the second issue that we are facing has to do with quality assurance. it is our job as sigar to construct oversight of the reconstruction effort, but it is also the responsibility of the agents -- of the implementing agencies to monitor the progress and quality of their programs, to do the due diligence before turning it over to the afghan government. unfortunately, we are finding that agencies often fail to fully implement their quality assurance programs. let's go back to the garrison. we found the quality assurance process was virtually
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nonexistent during the first nine months of. the of the most critical nine months. as a result, there was no way to verify if improper materials were substituted for the correct ones or foundations were constructed with any type of quality assurance. we have seen this problem in all areas in afghanistan, from development programs to capacity-building initiatives, to building and construction sites. one of the worst examples, unfortunately, that we uncovered may have resulted in a loss of american service members. that involved a multimillion- dollar program intended to protect highway culverts from improvised explosive devices. we found that no quality control was done. as i reported recently in a letter i sent to the commanders on the field, in an emergency
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management letter, many a the grates were missing or poorly installed, in such a way that they failed to prevent ied's from being put underneath the highways, and they resulted in the death of u.s. coalition and afghan forces. this matter is still ongoing and has grown in scope. i have to give credit to general allen and many of the military officers who brought this to our attention, because they thought it was localized. but we have since found evidence that this may be widespread throughout the country. we don't know what the ultimate results are, but it has turned into a criminal domestication. the third problem i want to focus on past to do with security. that is a key issue we are facing. without adequate security,
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construction either come to a halt. or if it continues, it does so without unnecessary oversight. we were told the reason there had been no oversight in the first nine months at kundus was because of the security situation there, but nobody felt it was safe enough to visit the site. this problem is not limited just to the united states. for example, we know that the world bank failed to properly monitor some of its programs, such as the afghanistan construction trust fund, because it determined that sending personnel outside kabul is too risky. as the military drawdown, we find there are fewer places we can go to safely in afghanistan to monitor projects. just last week, some of the inspectors identified the problems at kundus
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reported there were not able to travel to a number of sight because of security issues. we are working to find ways around this. it is not insurmountable, but it is difficult, because the best oversight is to send american over there who is trained in oversight to go there and kick the tires. we are trying to take that into consideration. we are hoping the government agencies to our contract to build these sites and create these programs are doing the same thing. this problem could grow over the years to come. the fourth problem area at deals with sustainability. by this i mean, do the afghans have the financial and technical capabilities and the political will to operate and maintain the facilities and programs that reconstruction has worked on --
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that we have done in reconstruction over the last 10 years? the numbers tell a story. the afghan government brings in total revenue per year of only $2 billion. it will cost approximately $4 billion just to sustain the afghan security force. we bring in the rest of the afghan government programs, we are talking about approximately $10 billion more per year. that is a financial problem that the international community is stepping puppy up to the plate to help the afghan government whip. an important delta that has to be filled. and the technical capability of the afghan government is in question. we have found the afghan government will likely be incapable of fully maintaining
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facilities after the 2014 transition. that includes the infamous kundus army garrison base. moreover, the afghan national security forces lack the technical skills needed to operate and maintain critical facilities such as the water supply, with water treatment, and power generation capability. finally, there is a problem of corruption. corruption in afghanistan is corrosive. eating away at its reputation in the world. and at the faith of the afghan people and their leaders, government programs, and policies. according to transparency international, afghanistan is perceived as having the worst public corruption in the world. tied for last with north korea
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and somalia. corruption is not just an afghan problem. the our investigative work and audit work, we have uncovered schemes by contractors at u.s. government officials to engage in bribery, theft, and other forms of fraud. it is too soon for us to know whether the problems at that garrison were the result of bribery or corruption. our criminal agents are looking at that right now, but we need to a knowledgeable that corruption plays in undermining the overall reduction efforts and the credibility of u.s. and afghan efforts now and for the foreseeable future even after the anticipated drawdown of u.s. troops in 2014. i have laid out what we see as some of the biggest problems facing reconstruction. i don't want to sound
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pessimistic. [laughter] i'm actually a very optimistic guy. that's why i took the job. i want to talk about how we at sigar and how i think the u.s. government will address those issues and wine sigar has a unique position to really make an impact on the problems i just identified. first of all, just so you know, sigar is the only agency in the entire united states government made of 200 people, that has just won sole mission, to protect and promote the effectiveness of the construction in afghanistan. everybody else has multiple nations. we only have one, and that's good, because we can focus
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our attention solely on that mission. although it is a temporary all possibility we will be around after 2014's troop drawdown, because it deals with the amount of funds obligated, so we should be there. it is the only agency that is given the authority and in part by congress to look at projects across government lines. we're not limited like the aid, inspector general, or dod for dod. we are specifically instructed by congress to look across the government. if you do reconstruction in afghanistan, we can look at that program. we also have a unique hiring authority. in essence, everyone who works for me works at will. so i can hire and remove
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employees based upon specific needs and need requirements. all of our employees have to sign up for the possibility of working in afghanistan. so it is a unique crowd that we bring. we also have, as a result, the single largest oversight presence of any u.s. government agency in afghanistan. we have 16 people on the ground right now including the largest cadre of auditors and criminal investigators. more than the fbi. it's not just our size, mandate, or unique authority that is important. it is how we and how i view our mission and how our agency sees that mission. when i joined sigar, i made it clear on the first day that you should view this as a mission
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and not as a job. if you see this as a job, as a place to retire in place, you should leave, because i only wanted people with fire in the belly, because we have a limited amount of time to do good in the construction in afghanistan. i have used that fire in the belly speech so much that my chief of staff has coined a new term called "fitb." it has worked. i am proud of my 200 agents, auditors, and investigators, because they all have that fire in the belly. bacon work elsewhere. some of them are working in the worst conditions. they're working in conditions as bad as our military is in gh